How Common Are Catastrophic Injuries at Work in North Carolina

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A catastrophic injury is one of the worst nightmares a worker can face. In a moment, the course of your life and career can be changed.

While catastrophic injuries are far too common in North Carolina, the law gives you some protections and benefits when you have been injured on the job. You can file a workers’ compensation claim that can result in compensation. Contact the Wilmington workers’ compensation lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys to schedule a free initial consultation.

Statistics on Work-Related Injuries

In 2020, there were nearly 1.2 million nonfatal work injuries that resulted in time away from the job. Approximately 1.8 million workers sought emergency treatment after job-related injuries, and roughly 127 out of every 10,000 workers sought medical treatment for injuries suffered on the job. 4,764 workers died on the job in that year, although the totals were lower due to the pandemic.

What Is a Catastrophic Work Injury?

According to the Department of Labor, a catastrophic injury is defined as one where the worker has:

“sustained life-threatening injuries or the injury has resulted in extensive functional deficits where the medical recovery is expected to extend over a long or indefinite period of time.”

Catastrophic injuries can involve multiple and complex medical conditions that necessitate the help of many different doctors.

Examples of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Amputations
  • Multiple bone fractures
  • Organ damage

Causes of Catastrophic Injuries on the Job

Many things can happen in the workplace that can cause catastrophic injuries. Common causes of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Slip and falls
  • Trench collapses
  • Equipment failures
  • Scaffolding collapses
  • Falling debris
  • Explosions
  • Electrocution
  • Motor vehicle accidents

Regardless of the cause of the accident, your legal options for obtaining compensation are the same.

Impact of Catastrophic Injuries on Workers and Families

A catastrophic injury can change the course of your life. You would miss an extended amount of time from work or may never be able to work again. Most likely, you would be left with an extensive recovery time to get better to the fullest extent possible. Your life before the accident is gone, and you are left to deal with the aftermath.

Your family will also be left to deal with the consequences of the accident. You may be left facing financial difficulties or unable to fulfill your role in the family dynamic because of your injuries.

Unfortunately, workers’ compensation benefits are focused on economic damages and not the other effects of the injury, which can be substantial. Workers compensation benefits can provide you with a valuable lifeline until you are able to work again.

Impacts of catastrophic work-related injuries include:

  • Being unable to work for an extended amount of time
  • Frequent trips to the doctor’s office
  • Permanent scarring and disagreement
  • Very high medical bills
  • Loss of cognitive ability

Workers’ compensation benefits cover your economic losses from a work-related injury, although they do not pay for non-economic damages.

Legal Recourse for Catastrophic Injury Victims

You should be entitled to some type of compensation for a catastrophic work-related injury, which is where workers’ comp plays a role. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that does not concern itself with whether or not you were negligent. However, workers’ compensation may also result in lower payments than a personal injury lawsuit.

Your lawyer would perform an in-depth investigation to determine whether a third party can be sued for your accident. With a personal injury lawsuit, you receive more compensation than you would in a workers’ compensation claim. Here, you would receive your full lost wages as well as non-economic damages. It is always in your interest to file a personal injury lawsuit if you can. You can file a workers’ compensation claim even when you have a personal injury lawsuit pending.

Settlements for Catastrophic Injuries on the Job

If you have suffered a catastrophic injury, there is a high likelihood that you will be permanently disabled. North Carolina law assigns a certain number of weeks of benefits for each body part that has been permanently injured. You would receive a disability rating from an independent medical examiner. You would need a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf, both to ensure that you have received the correct disability rating and the amount of your settlement is appropriate.

Why You Need a Lawyer for a Catastrophic Injury Claim

Catastrophic injuries can result in high settlements. They also involve more interaction with the insurance company because there is an extensive amount of medical care involved. Given the stakes of your workers’ compensation claim and the process that you must follow for as long as you are receiving benefits, it helps to have legal advice throughout the process. Our attorneys work to protect your interests when the insurance company tries to compromise them.

Contact a Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

If you have been injured on the job, your workers’ compensation claim may not be as easy as you think. When you hire an experienced attorney, they can fight for your legal rights while taking much of the burden off your plate. The lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys are experienced workers’ compensation advocates who can also handle your personal injury law case. To schedule an appointment with an attorney, you can send this message online or call us today at 910-405-7751.

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